`For Indians, Brampton is Canada'
Dec 05, 2007 04:30 AM
In the summer of 2006, Babita Sharma and her 2-year-old son left their home in Punjab, India, to start a new life in Canada. But their destination was not Toronto. Instead, Sharma landed in Brampton, where she joined her husband.
"He didn't even think of Toronto when he came here to look for a job," said Sharma. "Brampton has everything we need – the community, the stores, and it's affordable for us."
It seems a disproportionate amount of South Asian immigrants are from the Punjab which invariably means Sikh immigration. Because of this Canada is now home to one of the largest gatherings of Sikhs outside of India. According to the 2001 census there were 278,000 people in Canada identifying themselves as Sikhs. The number is undoubtedly higher now probably over 300,000. This is in comparison to the 336,000 Sikhs in Britain and a mere 100,000 living in the United States giving Canada the highest concentration of Sikhs per capita outside of India. A projected 443,600 Sikhs will be residing in Canada in 2017, according to wiki.
Sikhs are a minority in South Asia at an estimated 20 million in India alone - a country of over a billion inhabitants - but constitute the largest South Asian ethnic group in Canada. There are more Hindus in Canada but Hinduism is not a monolithic ethnic group, boasting adherents from several countries aside from India though Indian immigrants do compose most of those numbers. Sikhs are almost exclusively Punjabi.
It's a move and a choice that many Indians immigrating to the GTA are making, according to the new census data released yesterday. In 2006, India surpassed China as the number one source of immigrants settling in Toronto. About 77,800 immigrants came from India, and 17.4 per cent settled in the Toronto metropolitan area. The number of foreign-born residents in Brampton grew by 59 per cent between 2001 and 2006, according to the latest census data.
"For Indians, Brampton is Canada," said Ahmed Iqbal, the executive director of Brampton Multicultural Community Centre, which serves 11,000 immigrants a year, the majority from India. "They have heard about it and they know that it is a place where people `look like us,'" he said.
Note how he can express that sentiment and escape any accusations of racism yet if you are white you better run for the hills.
If they choose Brampton because it is a place where people "look like us" then why did they leave India where everyone looks like them? This says a lot about Indian immigration. They prefer to live and work among their own but care to enjoy all the benefits of living in a country such as Canada. They don't really care about Canada but care more about what they can get out of living in Canada. They want to live in India among Indians but they also want to enjoy the social achievements of western countries, something India still has a long way of achieving if it can do it at all. Thus, in parasite like fashion they colonize parts of Canada like Indian immigrants - primarily of Punjabi origin - are doing to Brampton.
However they don't seem to realize or care that someone was already living where they settled. They don't seem to care that the cultural and ethnic transformations they bring to a community or region displaces the host population, making them strangers in their own land. But this is advantageous to them because it makes the colonization of the area all the more complete. Who wants to deal with "the natives" anyway? I don't want my kids socializing with people other than their own. They might fill their heads with crazy ideas like assimilating into Canadian society and we didn't move to Canada to become Canadian. Who does?